Niger will host the WAFU Zone B of the 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations qualifiers in a new format adopted by CAF in collaboration with UEFA.
The qualifiers due to begin on September 2nd [in WAFU B zone] will now be played on zonal basis with regional hosts.
WAFU B comprises 16 member nations but only 7; including Nigeria, will compete in the qualifiers.
In a statement confirming the adoption of the new format, CAF acknowledged the assistance of UEFA through its UEFA Assist Programme.
According to General Secretary of the continent’s football governing body, Amry Fahmy the new format will allow for greater participation of teams and all was set for the kick off.
“The response has been great. A total of 49 Member Associations, have confirmed their participation, which is a record compared to the previous years. We will get to see teams that never participated and rarely made an impact at the youth level,” said CAF scribe Amr Fahmy.
“The U-17 is the nursery of our competitions and every eligible player must be given the opportunity to participate. We have been preparing for the past months in the areas of logistics, organisation and infrastructure, and I can confidently say, we are ready for the kick off,” he added.
The winner of each zonal competition qualifies for the final tournament, with the exception of the zone of the previous winner, entitled to two slots. Since Mali won the title in 2017, WAFU A will qualify two teams.
Meanwhile, all players selected for the tournament are expected to undergo mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to determine their eligibility to participate.
“Each of the six Zonal Unions (CECAFA, COSAFA, UNAF, UNIFFAC, WAFU A, WAFU B) will organise their regional qualifiers featuring teams from the zone.
“From mid-July to September, the qualifiers will take off from Mauritius (COSAFA), through Equatorial Guinea (UNIFFAC), Tanzania (CECAFA), Tunisia (UNAF), Senegal (WAFU A) before terminating in Niger (WAFU B),” the CAF statement read.
— CAF MEDIA (@CAF_Media) July 12, 2018
The decision, one of the key elements among the resolutions of the first ever CAF African Football Symposium in July 2017 in Rabat (Morocco), was approved by the CAF Executive Committee.